A sound. A single sound, multifaceted, twisting, bending and melting. Rumbling like distant shake and shudder of a heavy goods train multiplied to the sound of a foghorn. Monotonous and yet breathlessly urgent. Always seeming to be getting louder. The sound of Earth 2 is the noise I imagine when I see the stock footage of the bombing of Torabora. Barren, desolate. The rumble of an explosion slowed down to stretch out to over an hour. Each eddie and vicissitude burning, becoming impossibly loud. An almost godlike sound layered with a million intricacies and embellishments. This album is so short. Only one lifetime long but getting longer every listen. There isn’t enough time in existence to understand this record.
Earth, on this album produce a truly monolithic sound. What the world would sound like if overnight the knowledge of microchips was lost and every computer had to be the size of a warehouse. Everywhere packed together giant hulking monstrosities. It may not even be music, but pressure exerting itself fully inside your skull. As if, after taking a midnight walk to clear your head of all of the inanities of your day, you happen to chance upon Earth’s debut opus, and decide to listen. Immediately you are possessed by the notion that all around, the darkness in the trees, the blackness that lives under the now soundless water, the darkness between your fingers and down your throat and under your eyelids and the great and terrible infinite blackness that is the night sky is all very suddenly filled with formless, unfathomable menace. The deception, the hiding of the light, it all becomes suddenly clear to your mind that it is sentience. A creeping but constant awareness that in the black lurk terrible horrors beyond comprehension. Deep within the sentient night burn dark urges. You sense it, you think you remember it in the way the darkness grows. From unattended corners and behind tress. Consumes the ground, silently sliding between the blades of grass and moving imperceptibly over the clouds, finally consuming the sky and taking hold of the earth for another night. Something in remembering the way that happened tonight is distressing. The darkness is all around you now, above, below; you hold yourself close, trying not to think about the darkness in your lungs or the folds of your clothes.
Was it a person?
Suddenly a thunderous booming from the sky that never ceases. Endless monotonous droning. You spin. Is that rhythm from the sky?
Suddenly a pressure and a feeling that’s odd. All around, crushing, crushing with the screaming. As if the clouds and the sky and the heavens above are the weight of a mountain and diving at you, collapsing in around you, towards you. Moving impossibly fast, the weight of a mountain across all of you, you try to lift your arms and feel its heft, the weight pushes painfully against your chest and your skin and your face and your eyes. A groaning infinite weight pressed against your eyes. The drone! The interminable noise crashing down. Getting louder? The endless terrible anguished screaming from all of the birds and all of heavens’ souls on the sky plummeting at you impossibly. All of the weight of a mountain but bigger, bigger and heavier than you can conceive and heavier and faster and still plummeting and always exerting pressure and burning, lightlessly burning in the blackness and the screaming night all around you. A burning, plummeting screaming heaven of souls anguished, burning and flying faster and louder and heavier and faster and louder and heavier unabating, never blinking, wide eyes, spinning, stars, looking for the colossal heaven burning in the sky and knowing you’ll never see it coming. Feeling the pressure, the air as thick as water around your arms and pouring into your gasping lungs and pressing in your ears and the omnipresent unblinking screaming. Time passes with only the constant ratcheting up of volume and the feeling of presence, unbearable and increasingly so. You lose time, perception, reality slips...
A seemingly impossible perpetual sound begins in Seven Angels and continues unstoppably for over an hour. Your ears your conduit. Transfixed at the mathematical impossible indestructible wall of sound. As the conclusion nears with rattles of percussion as brutally surprising as a sudden blow to the face in a smoky opium den. The fleeting guitar sounds, percussion (and is that a voice halfway through Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine?) all seem like glimpsing movement in acrid smoke. Shapes, fleeting recognisable pieces, something passes through a ray of light, too quick to catch its form.
Like the darkness between the stars or smoke between your fingers. Earth 2 is a beautiful, transcendent experience that evokes such a vivid set of emotions and leaves me literally breathless.
And the lesson of Earth 2? With a crash of metallic glass, the screams of a titanic heaven of anguished souls fade into nothing. You’re left standing in the darkness, feeling the air around you, so thick moments ago now cannot be felt. The darkness no longer holds its sentience. You are left with ringing ears knowing nothing in the rest of your life will be as comparably tactile, immediate and intangibly and you will never be so alive as you were in that all-too-brief yet endless moment.
Written under duress by Steven